Wednesday, October 17, 2007

First GP Visit

Yes, only 3 weeks into the medical course and today I had my first visit to a GP surgery. Needless to say, I was excited. I really wanted to see what it was like to see patients here in the United Kingdom. The sad fact though, was that the practice I was attached to was in Derby, so not only did I have to wake up early to catch my transport from QMC, but I would have less contact time with patients compared to colleagues based in Nottingham.

Nevertheless, I sprang awake at 5.30 this morning eager not to miss my transport to Derby, which would leave QMC at 7.30. The anticipation was not damped by the fact that it happened to be a morning with temperature circa 8 degrees celsius, although I did make a mental note to start carrying my gloves around. I found a number of my colleagues, all of which were posted to the less accessible areas of Nottingham, waiting at the entrance to the medical school. Soon we were on our way, four of us sitting in a van to Derby. If I am not mistaken, ours is the furthest among all destinations.

At 8.35, after dropping off the other three at their respective surgeries (we all had different ones), I finally set eyes on Mickleover surgery, which on first impression seemed to be a neighbourhood surgery. It was a practice of 3 doctors. The staff were friendly enough, welcoming me into the clinic to wait for the doctor to arrive.

At about a quarter past 9, Dr Gayed arrived and invited me into his office. I sat in the corner of the office. He gave me a brief introduction to each patient's condition before the patient entered the office. Fortunately, none of the patients I saw today were against the idea of having a medical student in the same room.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience today and was reluctant to have to leave at ten past 11. I could readily have sat there for 2 more hours absorbing all the information that each patient was introducing to me. However, I had done fairly well today, managing to see 11 patients over the 2 hours i was there. And I had already accumulated a list of items to be researched over the subsequent days.

I had also obtained insight into the primary health care system. And my immediate conclusion was that I would love to be a general practitioner here. Perhaps it was due to the cultural difference, but a visit to the GP here seemed to be far more active than a typical one in Malaysia. And I started to wonder whether beliefs and principles of a doctor who was trained here could hold in a different country, as I would experience after graduation.

My colleagues and I all agreed that we would have loved to attend GP visits more often... And I'm sure we all eagerly anticipate our next visit, which is the last one before Christmas, 2 weeks from now. I know I do.

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